Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

large-scale internal migrations? Will, for example, the Ibo of Nigeria be willing to move into regions in which the Hausa and Fulani predominate? Will Bengalis be willing to move to Assam and Tamils to Bombay? Will Montagnards be willing to move to Saigon and Hue? Or will the hostilities which one ethnic group has shown to another discourage individuals from seeking new economic opportunities in their own country wherever those opportunities can be found?
One could continue to add to this list of hypotheses and questions, but to little purpose. The main point is that if there are so many myths and so little research, it is partly because contemporary political scientists have paid so little attention to these issues and left the study of the political aspects of population change to other disciplines.* But there are three reasons why this lack of attention is likely to be corrected in the near future.
The first is that population issues are increasingly a matter of public controversy and public policy, and wherever controversy arises or policies are debated, political scientists are sure to be interested. In both developed and developing societies, there are political controversies over government-sponsored family planning programs, partly based on the belief that various groups have as to the political effects of such policies, and partly based on the beliefs various groups have as to the motivations of those who are carrying out family planning programs. The attacks by some black militants in the United States against what has been called "prenatal genocide" is simply an American version of a controversy that one can find in many multi-ethnic societies. Moreover, as populations grow and densities increase, governments arc likely to give more and more attention to population redistribution policies and these controversies, too, are bound to attract the interest of political scientists.
Second, the population dimensions of political changes in the developing countries arc so different from the patterns experienced by Europe that scholars must give particular attention to issues in political demography. The decline in mortality, for example, has been much faster than anything experienced by the European states. The result is that the proportion of young people in developing areas is higher than existed in western Europe in the 18th or 19th centuries. There is a particularly acute problem of meeting the demands for educational facilities and, a generation later, of providing employment for a rapidly expanding labor force. Then, too, as noted before, the
*The most explicit theoretical statement I can find on the subject matter of political demography is in the writings of Durkheim, who sought to build a branch of population studies in sociology called social morphology in terms similar to those used in this essay. A member of Durkheim's school, Maurice Halbwaeh, developed the notion further (82). lie proposed that a subfield, "political morphology," be established focusing on the location and distribution of people in space us a determinant of the structure and functions of government. To the best of my knowledge, this aspect of Durkheim's work
.............,> .,.....,.,.,1 K,, .-./tlitirvil i>tf>ntic<-<: